Paul and the False Apostles
1I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me!2I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I promised you in marriage to one husband, to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.3But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by its cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.4For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you submit to it readily enough.5I think that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles.6I may be untrained in speech, but not in knowledge; certainly in every way and in all things we have made this evident to you.7Did I commit a sin by humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I proclaimed God's good news to you free of charge?8I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you.9And when I was with you and was in need, I did not burden anyone, for my needs were supplied by the friends who came from Macedonia. So I refrained and will continue to refrain from burdening you in any way.10As the truth of Christ is in me, this boast of mine will not be silenced in the regions of Achaia.11And why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!12And what I do I will also continue to do, in order to deny an opportunity to those who want an opportunity to be recognized as our equals in what they boast about.13For such boasters are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.14And no wonder! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.15So it is not strange if his ministers also disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness. Their end will match their deeds.Paul's Sufferings as an Apostle
16I repeat, let no one think that I am a fool; but if you do, then accept me as a fool, so that I too may boast a little.17What I am saying in regard to this boastful confidence, I am saying not with the Lord's authority, but as a fool;18since many boast according to human standards, I will also boast.19For you gladly put up with fools, being wise yourselves!20For you put up with it when someone makes slaves of you, or preys upon you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or gives you a slap in the face.21To my shame, I must say, we were too weak for that!
But whatever anyone dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast of that.22Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I.23Are they ministers of Christ? I am talking like a madman—I am a better one: with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless floggings, and often near death.24Five times I have received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.25Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I received a stoning. Three times I was shipwrecked; for a night and a day I was adrift at sea;26on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from bandits, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers and sisters;27in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, hungry and thirsty, often without food, cold and naked.28And, besides other things, I am under daily pressure because of my anxiety for all the churches.29Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I am not indignant?30If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.31The God and Father of the Lord Jesus (blessed be he forever!) knows that I do not lie.32In Damascus, the governor under King Aretas guarded the city of Damascus in order to seize me,33but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped from his hands.Chapter 12Paul's Visions and Revelations
1It is necessary to boast; nothing is to be gained by it, but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord.2I know a person in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows.3And I know that such a person—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows—4was caught up into Paradise and heard things that are not to be told, that no mortal is permitted to repeat.5On behalf of such a one I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses.6But if I wish to boast, I will not be a fool, for I will be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think better of me than what is seen in me or heard from me,7even considering the exceptional character of the revelations. Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated.8Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me,9but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.10Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.Paul's Concern for the Corinthian Church
11I have been a fool! You forced me to it. Indeed you should have been the ones commending me, for I am not at all inferior to these super-apostles, even though I am nothing.12The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, signs and wonders and mighty works.13How have you been worse off than the other churches, except that I myself did not burden you? Forgive me this wrong!